The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Billionaires Attack Teachers

Feb 3, 2014

A group calling itself “Students Matter” is suing the State of California to get rid of laws about “tenure,” as existing teacher job protections are known.

It’s not that public school teachers’ jobs are well protected. School boards and district administrators have been systematically hiring more and more teachers on “non-tenure-track” contracts. This process has sped up along with teacher layoffs. About 32,000 teachers in California lost their jobs between 2009 and 2012 alone. But with this lawsuit, so-called “education reformers” hope to speed up the relentless war on teachers.

The so-called “reformers” say tenure “protects bad teachers,” and hurts students. So then, do these so-called “reformers” oppose teacher layoffs, which have caused class sizes in California’s public schools to soar to 35 or even 45, hurting students badly? Not at all! On the contrary–the “reformers” want MORE teachers fired. In reality, they want the more experienced teachers, who tend to make more, to be fired!

If this sounds like a scheme to reduce payroll–well, it is. Behind the “reformers” are some big capitalists. The group that wants to get rid of teacher tenure was founded by Silicon Valley “entrepreneur” David F. Welch. He is supported by Eli Broad, a real estate billionaire and another self-declared “education reformer.”

For teachers, this war will certainly not be won in courtrooms, no matter what the outcome of this ongoing lawsuit may be. Against the billionaires’ money, teachers have to mobilize their own forces and allies, as broadly as possible. And that includes working-class students and parents, who rely on public schools–the very schools that are being gutted by state politicians, school board officials, and administrators bought by the billionaires.